Antonio Nocerino

Antonio Nocerino

Team: Orlando City

Age: 32

Position: Midfielder

Nationality: Italian

Previous Club: AC Milan

Journeyman midfielder, Antonio Nocerino, has played for no fewer than 13 clubs during his 14-year career. A quick, energetic ball winning, center midfielder by trade, Nocerino is also just as comfortable being deployed anywhere across the midfield. His pace and stamina being his main strengths, giving Nocerino the ability to play as a wide man or even a false number 9 as he was for the national side under Cesare Prandelli.

Born in Naples, the Italian international begun his youth career at Serie A giants Juventus. Nocerino never made the breakthrough for The Old Lady and in 2004 he was loaned to Serie B side, Avellino. The first of 5 loan moves he’d make throughout his career. Nocerino made his professional debut for Avellino in a 0-0 draw against Parma. He would go on to make 34 appearances that season as Avellino were relegated to Serie C1.

In 2004 Nocerino joined fellow Serie A side, Genoa, in a €450,000 co-ownership deal. For the next 2 seasons, Nocerino would be loaned out to 3 diffract clubs in his native Italy. The first F.C. Catanzaro in 2005, followed by F.C. Crotone and then finally Messina in 2006. It was not Messina that Nocerino would make his Serie A debut. It came in a 4-2 victory gains Sampdoria. His first professional goal was an 88th-minute strike against Empoli in a 2-1 defeat in May 2006

The 2006-07 season saw Nocerino once again on the move. This time to Serie B, northern Italian side Piacenza in a € 4.7M co-ownership deal. Nocerino was a regular starter for Piacenza that season and impressed in his 37 games, scoring 6 goals. Those performances were enough to convince Juventus manager Claudio Ranieri to part with €3.7 million to buy back 50% of his registration.

With Juventus back in the top flight after their exile due to a match-fixing scam, Nocerino would finally make his debut for the club in July of 2007. A 5-1 mauling of Livorno on the opening day of the season. Nocerino would play regularly for the first half of this campaign until the arrival of Mohamed Sissoko from Liverpool in the January of 2008 limited his chances. He finished the season having made 32 appearances in the league and 4 in the cup. During the summer of 2008, Nocerino captained Italy Under 23’s squad to the Toulon Tournament final. A 1-0 win in that fixture over Chile was enough to see Italy lift the trophy for the first time in their history. He also received the captains’ armband for the national side during 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Italy was knocked out in the quarterfinals to Belgium.

After a busy summer, another move came in the summer of 2008. This time a permanent move away from the club he’d been associated with for over a decade. Nocerino would move to Palermo for €7.5 million, a deal which saw Amauri move in the opposite direction. Making his debut for the club that September in a 3-1 win over Roma. He would finish his first season for the Rosanero making 33 appearances.

It was during his second season and a year since making his debut before he would score his first goal for the club, with Roma the opposition once again. Under then manager Walter Zenga, he would play regularly in a defensive midfield role. But when a change at the helm with Delio Rossi coming in, Nocerino would be played in a more advanced role. Sometimes he’d occasionally have to cover at left back also, his versatility helped Nocerino notch up his 100th appearance for Palermo in 2010\11 season. In August 2011 his time with the club come to an end, making 122 appearances and scoring six goals during his time.

On the last day of the Italian transfer window, Nocerino joined AC Milan for €500,000, signing a five-year deal. He made his debut in a 2-2 draw with Lazio in September 2011. Just a few days later Nocerino would make his Champions League debut, once again a 2-2 draw, this time against Barcelona. His first goal for his new club would come against one of his old ones. After rounding off a great team move involving Robinho and Antonio Cassano, Nocerino would score Milan’s first goal on the way to a 3-0 win. By the end of that campaign, Nocerino had recorded his best goal return of his career, amassing 10 goals in 35 appearances.

The summer of 2012 saw Nocerino take the 8 shirt following the departure of Gennaro Gattuso. He would continue to play regularly for Milan as the side would finish 3rd that season, once again qualifying for the Champions League. That would be Nocerno’s last full season for Milan. As in January of the next campaign, he would once again be loaned out. This time his destination was the Premier League and West Ham United.

Nocerino would play the remainder of the season at West Ham playing under Sam Allardyce. His first appearance came on January 29th in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea. West Ham would finish the season in 13th place that season. Just 7 points off the drop zone. Nocerino would make 10 appearances for the side until his loan run out in the summer.

Two more loan moves followed for Nocerino in the 2014/2015 season. He started the season for Torino, making 5 appearances before his loan move was terminated. In January of 2015, he made the switch to Parma. Scoring his first goal for them against his parent club in the February during a 3-1 defeat. A few weeks later it was announced that Nocerino had mutually agreed to terminate his AC Milan contract and would be signing for Orlando City.

On his arrival, Nocerino was handed the number 22 shirt. He made his debut on 12th March 2016 in a 1-1 draw with Chicago Fire. He would continue to play for the Florida side another 21 times that season as the side finished 8th in the Eastern Conference. So far throughout his well-travelled career, Nocerino has amassed 360 games and scored 29 times. Even been capped 15 times by his country.